Eastern Illinois Foodbank
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|Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois, Jasper, Moultrie, Piatt and Vermilion Counties|
|220 Agencies & Programs|
|Board of Directors|
Eastern Illinois Foodbank (EIF) opened its doors in June 1983. It was formed as part of a major regional effort to develop an emergency food network in central Illinois; the foodbank’s primary role is to serve as a consistent source of food and grocery products for 220 agencies and programs to serve the hungry in 14 counties. The EIF now distributes more than 6 million pounds of food annually on a budget of just over $1 million. Food distributed by the EIF now reaches more than 100,000 people annually.
Mission: The Eastern Illinois Foodbank is the primary food source for food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and other programs working to feed the hungry. Each year, we distribute millions of pounds of food across our network of more than 200 such programs. Together, we’re working to create a hunger-free eastern Illinois.
The Foodbank accepts donated and discounted food from a variety of sources and distributes it to 220 emergency food programs, such as food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. By partnering with EIF, emergency food programs are able to save millions of dollars each year in food purchase and handling costs; these savings allow them to focus their efforts and funds on more effectively working to alleviate hunger in our area. EIF also operates the Healthy Futures Initiative, designed to alleviate hunger among low-income children, and the Foodmobile Program, which aims to increase access to emergency food for residents in rural and under-resourced communities.
The Foodbank’s system of mobile food pantries, called the Foodmobile Program, was launched in 1999. Foodmobiles are designed to increase access to nutritionally-dense foods for residents of rural and under-resourced communities.
Foodmobiles are hosted by community organizations or emergency food providers in communities across the Foodbank’s service area, and are often financially sponsored by service organizations, businesses, and other community groups; each Foodmobile leaves the Foodbank stocked with approximately 8,000 – 14,000 pounds of food and grocery products – fresh vegetables, bread, canned fruits, boxed meals, and more – to be set up for on-site distribution at the hosting community location. Volunteers are a crucial part of the Foodmobile program – they help set up and distribute food to the 150 families served at each distribution.
Healthy Futures Initiative
The Healthy Futures Initiative is the Eastern Illinois Foodbank’s coordinated approach to alleviating child hunger; the initiative strives to increase access to healthy foods such as produce, dairy, nonperishable fruits and vegetables, grains, and meat available to children in situations of food insecurity and hunger. This product reaches children through these three primary distribution channels: Backpacks full of food for children at risk of weekend hunger, delivered directly to them at school on Fridays; (learn more about a study on the impact of the BackPack Program currently underway at the Family Resiliency Center, Mobile food pantry, or Foodmobile, distributions to children and families in predominantly rural communities, and agencies and programs served by the Foodbank such as soup kitchens, food pantries, and kids’ snack programs that provide meals or groceries to families with children.